Agony: “Oooee ma! Ab kya karoon”(Oh mother what should I do)
Ecstasy: “Mamma mia! What a chick?” ( I pledge on my mother, I shall not leave you)
Revenge: “Maa kasam! Main tujhe nahin chodonga” (I swear on my mother , I shall not leave you)
If you haven’t guessed it till now, I am talking about Ma, Indian mother.
Most priceless Thing in the World
During a recent money awareness session that I did for kids, a child asked me “What is most priceless thing in the world that never changes?” We had a great discussion about the Chocolates, Toys(Barbie and Ben 10’s), Games-Wii, Xbox,School, Teachers and could not conclude and we decided that kids should ask their parents and carry on the discussion in our next session. Next day most of the kids said “Mother’s love is the most priceless thing in the whole world“(did their mother’s coach them?).
In India, we have put mothers on a pedestal. We have heard stories of Yashoda and his NandLal (That besides the point that she didn’t give birth to him!) I grew up seeing Nirupa Roy as the mother in films and hearing the famous dialogues and references to Ma: “Mere Paas Maa hai”; “Maa ka pyaar bhara dil”((Mother heart full of love); “Maa ke haath ki bani roti” (Mother’s food) ; “Maa ke haath ka thappad”(Mother’s slap) ; “Maa ka aashirwad” (Mother’s blessing).
Like diamond, Ma is forever and just as valuable. Reams of paper and reels of films have expressed the love of a mother. So when my doctor said with a smile on her face “Badhayee ho, tum maa banene waali ho” (Congratulations – you are about to become mother), I felt as if I am on top of the world. My mother & mother-in law were ecstatic. World said, “Now you will be complete, you will have a purpose in life”. And after almost two decades of motherhood, I am yet to find time to feel it!
Those “nine months of my life”, I changed physically. I had a huge belly(still have one), varicose veins, and swollen ankles. I looked like an elephant. I was vomiting almost throughout and asked why why why? Everybody – from my mother, mother-in-law, buaa, chachi, aunties, maids, and iron-lady started giving ‘a word of advice’ or talking about ‘how was it for them’. Once “my bundle of joy” was placed in my arms, I cried, I didn’t know how I would take care of her. As years have passed, I am getting all the more confused.
Challenges before Modern Mother
I suppose my mother or her mothers did not seem to have much time agonizing over various aspects of child-raising. No junk food, no gadgets and they had more than 2.4 children. Baache to baache baapre baap! (children are children but their father!!. It is easier to handle kids than their pitajee! They, I mean the mothers before, had less time to spend on children as such.
Modern Mother seems to be grappling with so many questions.
I have to contend with choices galore-not just of Bournvita or Horlicks kind, the cuisine also – South Indian/ North Indian/ Chinese/Italian and so on. It is beside the point that my son always wants to eat paani-puri for dinner or would want to eat Curd-rice in a Chinese restaurant.
- There is the dilemma of working mom vs. stay at home mom, nuclear families vs. joint, my list is endless. And I can never, never get it right. Mere housewives are looked down upon; working moms are on guilt spree. In other words – na ghar ki na ghat ki! (neither here nor there)
- Should I give a course of antibiotics to a child who is ill and let the house sleep; or do I go for healthier alternatives and prolong my (oops!) child misery?
- Should I count bag of potato chips as a vegetable (potato is a vegetable just like tomato and spinach as my daughter explained) or junk food? Or should I consider it as a ‘health junk’?
- Should I be stern just like my mother was and use her favourite word ‘NO’?
- Or should I remember every child psychology book that I laid my hands upon, about how a child psyche is even more fragile than that crystal doves he is about to smash? How damaging it is for a child to listen to ‘No…No…No..’ from his own mother?
I surrender to the fact that my children are undisputed king and queen of the household.
And I am surviving being a mother!! I do agree with Oprah that “Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.” To be a mother; to feel the pleasure and pain; one needs to be, you guessed it right – mother!
Childhood then and Now
Do you think mothers are overrated? Is mother’s love as priceless as they say? Are modern-day fathers(the alpha man) taking equal responsibility in raising children especially in day to day upbringing of a child?